Monday, May 24, 2010

Home Schooling Part 4~ How (do you keep the little ones occupied?)

This is one of those ever present challenges you face with multiple little ones. How do you accomplish anything worthwhile with the oldest when you have a lonely three year old, a trouble finding two year old and a hungry newborn?

The newborn is easy. always take the time to feed your baby! I still find myself trying to put her off just a little longer. But it always results in a stressful time and I feel like a bad mommy. Now I make sure to give Baby a good feeding, check her diaper and either strap her on, put her in the bouncy seat or simply put her to bed.

Havilah (2) is my precious one that I can't turn my back on. Mom's say to me, "But you don't have boys!". I say,"But you don't have Havilah!".

Do we adore her? Absolutely!!! Does she keep us on our toes every minute of the day? Absolutely! When we figured out this solution for her, it saved me much sanity! That solution was.....

Blanket Time!

I first heard about this idea in the Duggar's book when Havilah was about 14 months old. It is fabulous!

Day 1, I simply placed her on a blanket with a few quiet toys and told her to stay on the blanket. I sat near her. By that age she new perfectly well what I was saying and what she was to do. Being Havilah, she of course had to test it multiple times. When she had stayed on the blanket for a sufficient amount of time, I told her that blanket time was over and we folded up the blanket.

Day 2 went beautifully! Just small amount of testing.

Day 3, I started leaving the room for small amounts of time. She of course tested every opportunity.

Day 4, just a little more testing.

After that I could leave her and know that she would stay. Okay, there were still a few random times of testing, but overall she did great! So when it was time for school, I would lay out her blanket with a few quiet toys, tell her it was blanket time, and then be able to leave her (not far away) on her own until I had finished school with Lydia ( only about 30-45 minutes). She was so cute! After watching me for a few days, whenever I would tell her that blanket time was over, she would begin folding up the blanket .

The great thing about this system is that it travels! I have taken her to baby showers and meetings, put her on blanket time and she's played quietly the whole time! Michelle Duggar calls it a play pen in her purse and it really is.

So how about Bethany......
Lydia and Bethany are attached at the hip. They love to be together and they almost always are. Bethany was quite at a loss when suddenly she found herself with time and no big sister. This has been a wonderful time to draw Bethany and Havilah together. Let's just say, they are not two peas in a pod, but are much closer now than before! But other than playing with Havilah, this is what we do with Bethany.....

I try and spend some time doing "school" with her. It teaches her at this age to sit quietly, to wait patiently while I work with Lydia and to work diligently on the task given t her. Most days I've just come up with my own "school papers" for her. They look something like this,

Obviously nothing too fancy, but it has been good for her and she has made great progress! When Bethany started writing, it was truly painful. It was literally weeks before she could successfully down a "down" line. My sister found these fabulous books from Wal-Mart that she loves.

There are all sorts of these fun activity book ( mazes, hidden pictures, dot to dot etc.) that are bright and colorful and fairly cheap. We have gone through many of these this year. Bethany eats up any "school" that she can do!

Next up: a few of our favorite extras! Sniff! Sniff! Do I smell a give away coming up???


Aly sun said...

You are giving really fantastic advice. Just this morning I added scripture to school. We worked on a verse and drew pictures for the words they know:

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but in action and in truth." I John 3:8

Thank you for imparting the wisdom from your experience. I love the idea of blanket time. The Dugars have some great advice. I'll definitely be doing that with #3. For now, at 7 months, he is by far the easiest.

Season said...

I was just telling Alysun about this fantastic phonics program that someone gave me when I first started homeschooling. It is so fun that the 2 and 3 year olds can participate and learn at the same time! I think you'd really like it also. Let me know if you are interested. And thanks for the blanket time encouragement. I used to do this and got discouraged thinking I started too late but if you accomplished it with your challenging child maybe it will still work for us. I'm going to give it another try!

Anonymous said...

Hi dear sister-in-law! I just finished reading the last months worth of your blogs and I was so very blessed and encouraged. Your thankful attitude is so very evident in all of your posts. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us! Maybe I should start a blog of some would remind me to count my blessings. I love you dear sister!
Love, Laura

Mrs David W said...

Hello Grace :)
You are a friend of a friend to me:) Both through SBC (Martins, Kings, Urbachs etc)
and folks in Oregon like Alyssa Cunningham. I love love the idea of blanket time. I read your blog and was so inspired... after speaking with my husband, we started doing it too. I even wrote a blog about it. Not that you have to read it...I just wanted you to know :)
Thank you for your writings! We mothers who are trying our best to raise Children to serve the Lord need encouragement and the blog-land is a wonderful place to find that.